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Lal Niwas
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33 - 38 of 56 reviews
Reviewed March 30, 2012

Stayed 2 nights at Lal Niwas and enjoyed it very much. The receptionist told us the hotel was formerly the district administrative buildings that were bought by a family and restored. The ground floor is a warren of rooms stuffed with handicrafts and antiques making it appear as if right out of the days of the British Raj. It is also painted in a deep brick-red giving everything a slightly dark and mysterious allure. Upstairs the rooms are much lighter, painted in white and again with the handicrafts and antiques to compliment the whole atmosphere. The hotel is huge and meanders for most of the whole block giving an almost maze of hallways. The staff were all very helpful and friendly and the meals delicious. Be sure to order some of the Rajasthan style dishes and chat with the doorman who wears the gigantic mustache. He used large spools of thread to extend and curl his mustache and is very friendly and fun to talk with. Our only complaint was that rooms were very cold during the colder than usual weather we had at the time.

It seemed that most people just blew into Phalodi for one night to see the bird refuge and maybe the lake and then left. If possible spend another night or two and just wander around Phalodi itself. It is an amazing place of fantastic old traditional houses, Jain temples and with almost no other tourists on the streets. The locals were friendly and very curious about our presence. Watch out for the cows though. I have never seen as many cows wandering the streets in India as I did in Phalodi and some were not used to weird foreigners.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank ThriveSF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 10, 2012

Lal Niwas a place to go and get your batteries, literally and figuratively, charged. It is a heritage building with some old world charm but certainly nothing to write home about. Only vegetarian food is available but the dinners were really tasty. Breakfast was a bit on the lean side, especially after an adrenalin filled morning with the cranes...which after all is the only reason one would find yourself at Lal Niwas. The birds are an absolutely spectacular sight. The hotel staff will tell you to go at 7h30 to see the birds. What you really need to do is be there at sunrise , see the birds at various locations, the two lakes, the dunes and in flight, before moving across to the feeding house. As an expat in India I rate this visit to the Khichan cranes as one of the most fulfilling experiences during my stay in India. It is a photographers dream to be with the birds and the people of Khichan. This was never on my "bucket list" but it is now on for another visit. The shortcomings of Lal Niwas are soon forgotten when you meet the cranes of Khichan.

Room Tip: If you are there to see the birds. Go and find the locations where you can see the birds in the morning. Speak to the locals so that you are informed when you arrive for your first sighting of the birds at sunrise
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank HeinB4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 20, 2012

Watching Demoiselle Cranes at Khichan is indeed an elevating experience. Those who do not find it so are perhaps casual tourists or mere bird-watchers, and not really natural history enthusiasts or wildlife photoghraphers.

There is some mention that perhaps Khichan is over-rated, or that there is better Demoiselle sighting somewhere else in India. I would entirely disagree on this count. I have studied cranes for over 15 years, and I truly regard Khichan as quite simply the best place in the world to observe wintering Demoiselles. The 'Khichan cranes' is a special man-animaI interaction story, and a real drama that unfolds spectacularly as you some spend serious time at Khichan, rather than just bird-watch for a few hours and call it a day.

I have been visiting Khichan off and on for more than 12 years. Spent 4 days at Khichan and at Lal Niwas (Phalodi) towards end-January, 2012. Any discusssion of Lal Niwas is quite besides the point as it is the only accommodation available in the region. You don't discuss the quality of water (and start thinking of options of beverages in general) in almost a desert with your throat truly parched ! Lal Niwas, in this context, is totally an Oasis in the region. Mind you it is not supposed to be a 5-star luxury resort, but a heritage property that tends to recoup some of its maintenace costs by way of the money it begets from its business visitors. It is indeed a very big building, and definitely must be requiring enormous funds for its maintenance. And, lack of satisfactory maintenance (as reported by several reviewers) does indicate that Lal Niwas is not able to make much economic sense out of the business it is currently getting.

I would recommend a visit to Khichan, and to Lal Niwas (Phalodi) whole-heartedly. It serves the twin purpose of seeing one of the grandest natural history spectacles and contributing your mite to heritage conservation (Lal Niwas).

Those who think that 'Khichan cranes' are really over-hiped may please visit my web site (khichan.com). 'Khichan cranes' is indeed a saga that unfolds slowly, as you soak every bit of this avian wonder with a somewhat longish visit.

Room Tip: Go in for ordinary rooms, there is not much point in opting for more expensive suites, all that you get is elevated beds and some additonal decoration (artifacts) that are hardly visible in poorly-lit rooms.
  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Dr_P_Kumar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 27, 2012

I was on a business trip to visit a site near Phalodi for a Solar Power Plant. I had been there for the first time and we had booked the room well in advance. The tariff of the room was very high considering the kind of town phalodi was. phalodi is not even categorized as a Tier 3 city or town. When we started driving towards the hotel, it was a real surprise to us because the kind of roads that we took to reach there were so narrow and small that it was hard to believe whether we can find such a hotel in such a location. However we finally reached the location and looked at it from the outside, it was like a huge ancient Rajasthani building.

The rooms were really kept nice and clean. All the facilities inside the room were good. We also had dinner in the same hotel, but the dinner was not so good as they was no match between the dish name what we ordered and what was finally prepared.

For a business trip and for senior and middle level executives, this should be a comfortable stay.

Room Tip: There are a lot of Solar Power Plant Projects going on in and around the place of phalodi in Rajasthan. Hence all the rooms will usually be completely booked. Make sure that you book your room well in advance.
  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled on business
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1  Thank solarpad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2012

Worst place by a long shot that we stayed in India. Where to start? Price.... they charged $100 a night for what should be a $15/night room. Then they charged us $15 to put an "extra bed" which was a 5cm thick matt on the floor. We wanted to check out at 7AM which was before breakfast and asked for some tea and some bananas. They then charged us $8 for 10 old bananas. Restaurant..... the food was alright if you can get by the dirt in the restaurant. The table clothes had about 3 months of crusted dal on them. The odd mouse running around too. They said they had a 200 year old bed, but I think perhaps they meant that my room hadn't been opened in 200 years.

Anyway, please save your money. The cranes were over-rated anyway and I can't think of any other reason to go.

Whoever rates this hotel above one star is obviously working for the hotel.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Mister G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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